As a marketer, I fail to understand how companies can overlook the importance of usability testing. I mean whom better to ask for feedback than the person the product or service is meant for. Here I would also like to highlight that asking for an opinion after the launch is of no use. In case the target audience does not like it, the damage is irreplaceable.
For example, Spectrum (a prominent telecommunication company) would have to take a poll before introducing its Spectrum Internet-only package regarding the features that the people would like.
Here’s why usability testing is essential:
Importance of Usability Testing
Whether or Not the Product Meets the Expectations
Usability testing will allow you to have a sneak peek into your target audiences’ brains. When you will offer them a sample of your product or let them enjoy your service before you launch it, you will get feedback from them. That feedback will be instant and most of the time true as well. Gathering that feedback and analyzing it later will tell you whether or not your product or service is meeting the expectations of the ultimate users.
This, in turn, will aid you in making a bigger decision – whether or not to launch your product or service. If the majority does not seem satisfied with what you came up with, introducing that product would be a waste of money.
Ability to Remove Flaws
When you introduce your product or service as a test run to the target audience, there can be two scenarios. Either they do not like your product completely or they want you to make certain changes to it. The latter will allow you to remove the flaws from your product and introduce a better version of it. Do not take the feedback as something negative. Be open to all types of suggestions at this stage. And be critical about your product or service.
If you think that you introduced the best that could possibly be, you can suffer a great loss. In fact, consider it a blessing to be receiving honest feedback that can help you to make major or minor changes to your product. The success of your offering after you introduce the better version will only make you proud of yourself.
User Reaction and Feedback
As discussed throughout the article, usability testing enables you to gather enough feedback to make a better decision regarding whether to introduce the product or not. You may believe that improving the product and making amendments to it is an ongoing process. And would want to skip the usability testing stage. DON’T. That would be the biggest mistake on your part.
Spending a small amount of money on testing before launching will save you a great deal of money that you would otherwise lose if the product fails. Usability testing is an integral part of the pre-launch rituals.
That was all about the importance of usability testing. Now let’s throw light on how to conduct it.
How to Conduct Usability Testing
You must carry out a pilot session before you move on to conducting the final session with your target audience. This session will aid you in understanding whether you drafted the questions well or not. If not, you can always observe what was it during the sessions that made more sense to the people. The pilot session will also help you to estimate the time that each question and answer session would take. Apart from that, you can make good use of the pilot session to see if the record sheet you prepared is good enough or not.
You can term this as an ice-breaking session. During this session, you will introduce yourself to the participants and they will do the same. Once both of you are comfortable with each other, you can ask the questions from your participants and see what they think about your product or service. In this casual session, they will be more comfortable to share what they actually fell about your offering. So, analyze whatever they say very carefully.
Finally, you get to conduct the formal test session. However, you should ensure that the environment in which you do so is very friendly. It should not scare the participants. Rather they should feel very comfortable chitchatting with you. Remember, friendlier the environment, more honest the feedback. So, it will be to your benefit to offer a cozy and comfortable environment.
Once you are done with the above-mentioned steps, it is then time for you to analyze. However, I would like to mention the need for you to be very comprehensive when choosing your participants for feedback. For example, if you were to ask about the performance of Spectrum TV Essentials package from the people, you would not add a 4 or 5-year-old kid to your list of participants.